Sometimes I think that we're going to sophisticate ourselves to death. We get so convoluted in our embrace of techniques and technology, we forget about the basics.

Let's all refresh and recharge, focusing on these five keys to direct marketing success:

1. Build advocates

Advocates are your very best customers. They not only buy from you very heavily but also sell for you by touting your product or service to business colleagues, friends and neighbors.

The objective of any direct marketing effort is not just to get a response or make a sale. It is to build customers. Direct marketing can be used at any stage—separating suspects from prospects, moving prospects to trial, converting one-time buyers to multiple-time buyers, and getting multi-buyers to become advocates.

Not everyone will become an advocate. Direct marketing helps you leverage the 80/20 rule (80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers). It allows you to identify the 20%, reward them to retain them and then clone them.

2. Select the right media

Direct mail is not always the right response medium to use, nor is the Internet. It depends entirely on the profile of your customers/prospects and on the nature of your product.

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image of Lee Marc Stein

Lee Marc Stein is an internationally known direct marketing consultant and copywriter. He has extensive experience in circulation, insurance and financial services, high tech, and B2B marketing.